Greetings from Minot, ND. Jay and I have been cruising along, enjoying the gently rolling North Dakota scenery, fighting the wind some days and feeling extremely fortunate to have well deserved tailwinds on other days. Whether we're riding with the wind or against it, we've found that ice cream is a constant during our travels. All these small towns in the boonies seem to have their own variation of the "Blizzard" that Dairy Queen is famous for, and often the small town version is better. Whether it's called the Storm, Twist, Freeze, or other random name, we'll eat it.
We've covered about 320 miles since our last update -- here's how they break down:
Saturday, May 19, 2007: Minot, ND (65 miles)
This morning was a cold one at 37 degrees. We waited until about 10am for it to warm up, which it did...to 38 degrees. Luckily there was an east wind and our route was pretty much due east until Minot. We rode the flat US2 all 65 miles into Minot in just over 3 hours...a tailwind can do wonderful things. It's a nice day when you can ride 65 miles and not feel like you've done any work. Tonight is our first warm showers stay (http://www.warmshowers.org/), and the family has been extremely kind so far. We ate a wonderful turkey dinner and have very comfortable beds, and the rumor is we'll be getting ice cream in just a bit.
Friday, May 18, 2007: Rugby, ND (127 miles)
This was a beast of a day. We had favorable wind setting out, so we decided to shoot for the stars, or in our case, Rugby, about 130 miles away. We were cruising along nicely in nearly 90 degree weather through the Spirit Lake Nation Indian reservation when pretty suddenly a classic plains storm brewed up to the northwest and caught us in rain, hail, and ominous lightning around mile 112. We deemed the riding unsafe and pulled off at a farm house for shelter, where a nice couple gave us lemonade and some delicious dessert bars. We watched the weather, and after realizing it wasn't about to let up, the husband drove us the rest of the 15 miles into Rugby, where some warm, comfortable motel beds (The Hub Motel) awaited us. Before bed, we ate an entire large stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut. And we didn't even think we were hungry...
Thursday, May 17, 2007: Pekin, ND (78 miles)
Today we fought extremely strong south winds. Our route was mostly west and north, so the north stretches were a breeze, but the west stretches found us riding our bikes at an angle at a slow 7 mph to try and keep our balance. After arriving in Pekin (pronounced Peek-inn), the local residents asked us how we found this particular area of North Dakota to be. Our response, naturally, was, "Well, it's a little desolate compared to what we're used to", to which they replied, "Desolate!? Wait until you see Montana!".
Wednesday, May 16, 2007: Page, ND (54 miles)
The biggest accomplishment of today was making it out of Fargo/Moorhead in one piece! Those metro areas will get you on a bike. The winds were mighty strong today, and we decided to take an easy day given our late arrival to Moorhead last night. We made it to Page, a cute little town that had one room available for rent in the same building the housed the bank. The local cafe also had cheeseburger night, so I enjoyed a couple of those while Jay enjoyed a chicken sandwich. Trains and cattle are becoming more common than people around these parts.
Now, a few pictures for your enjoyment:
Have a great day, and we'll hit you up in Montana!